I’m sorry for the arrogance and pride with which I tried to show you the grace, love, freedom, mystery, and beauty of Christ.
I’m sorry that more often than not, I displayed the truth that “knowledge puffs up” rather than “love builds up.”
Years have passed since I left seminary and returned to the high school classroom. Over the years I have reflected a great deal on my journey. Age, wisdom, parenting, and life have been means of the Lord opening my eyes to many things. One of which is the way I portrayed Christ to you all during our class discussions. I’m not proud.
I was passionate about all the information I’d acquired in my undergrad and graduate programs. Yet, my passion turned prideful, sometimes even pointed. While I did want to challenge your minds and force you to think, too often my challenges were unloving. (Too much sarcasm?!)
I wanted to convert the student body, but I’m not certain now my desire was to convert everyone to the beautiful Christ, or to a particular tradition’s understanding of Christ. Of course, I would’ve argued vehemently that I was doing the former, the fruit seems to show I was participating more in the latter. It seems as I acted as if I had arrived and needed to show you the way… wow… In reality, the humility the Lord has been teaching me over the years has shown me that I am actually quite early on my journey to holiness. I should’ve taught as one on the journey along with you, as one learning the way, not as one who knew the way.
I cared (and care) deeply for my students. Yet, I wish I would’ve displayed that differently. My heart broke when I learned of the dislike I had earned because of the potential for my sarcasm to be so mean and pointed. Never my intention, but does it really matter what I intend??? No. Didn’t someone say the road to hell is paved with “good intentions”? In our classes and in my responses, I wish I would’ve displayed the fullness and mystery of Christ, not the shallowness of “knowing everything.” I presented to you a version of the faith I now no longer embrace. And, guess what! Y’all were a huge part of this growth!
Students, you wouldn’t believe how much I learned from you. Like, wow! Your questions buried deep in my soul. Of course, you wouldn’t have known that from my quick, maybe sarcastic, response that was logical, philosophical, “biblical”, and often overly self-assured. Yet, year after year as the same question was asked, my same answer became more and more problematic. My resonse had to change, and slowly, so did my thought process. You forced me to examine all my ideas I learned from all those books (some of which I’ve sold for good money!!!) and caused me to see whether those ideas work in reality. My greatest education has come from life, from marriage, from parenthood, and yes, from my students.
I wish I could do those early years over again. I can’t. I wish I knew then what I knew now. I didn’t. I’m sure we all have those feelings and regrets about things! Thankfully, the Lord can restore the years the locust destroyed. The Lord, I trust, will water the good seeds and destroy the bad seeds. My intentions were noble, albeit misguided. My heart broke (and breaks) for those to whom the Lord has called me. But, the remedy I was offereing was too tainted with my own pride. I cared deeply for my students, for their souls, yet I could’ve emobided that care and concern in a holier, more Christ-like way.
Now, may “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better and may the eyes of your heart be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Eph. 1:17-19)